Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland Eamon Ryan is plotting a Dáil comeback
# The Comeback Kids
The former Fianna Fáil and Green ministers who are (or could be) making a comeback
There are a few familiar faces you could be seeing again come election time.

NEWS THAT FORMER government chief whip John Curran is considering making a political comeback has reignited speculation about which ministers from the last government could be plotting a Dáil return.

There are not many in the mix at the moment given the considerable unpopularity of the Fianna Fáil/Green Party coalition in its final days in office.

But that hasn’t deterred some who lost their Dáil seats in 2011 from sussing out whether they could launch an election bid. Here’s a quick lost of who’s considering a possible comeback…


Eamon Ryan 

As revealed recently, the former communications minister will be running for the Green Party in the highly-competitive Dublin Bay South constituency at the next election. That’s of course once he’s selected by the Green Party later this month. Ryan has a strong chance of winning a seat and returning his party to the Dáil after its 2011 wipeout.

Mary Hanafin 

The former education minister is making lots of noise out in Dún Laoghaire having fought a high-profile battle to get on the Fianna Fáil ticket for the local elections. She’s tipped to win the party’s nomination to run for the Dáil when a selection convention is held in the coming months. Hannifin told today that she will “certainly be putting my name forward”.

Government Press Conferences Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland The Two Marys: Mary Hanafin and Mary Coughlan could be making a comeback Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Strong possibilities

Mary Coughlan 

The former tánaiste is being coy about her intentions but there’s no doubt she’s strongly considering seeking her party’s nomination in Donegal. She argues that a lot of Fianna Fáil members locally want her to run, but adds that she’s had no communciations from headquarters.

Seán Haughey

The son of the late taoiseach is targeting the party’s nomination in Dublin Bay North, even referring to himself as a councillor for that constituency on his website. He’s been testing the waters after the recent RTÉ drama and his recently-changed Twitter bio refers to him as having a “strong independent streak”. If he doesn’t get the Fianna Fáil nod, could he go independent?

Thinking about it

Ciaran Cuffe

The former junior minister  was elected to Dublin City Council for the Green Party in May’s local elections and could be in with a shout of running for the Dail in a northside constituency. He was previously a TD in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and told he was considering a Dáil bid. “I’m having a long, hard think about things,” he said.

John Curran 

As we’re reporting this morning, the former minister of state is mulling over the possibility of seeking the Fianna Fáil nomination to run in Dublin Mid-West.

Outside bets

John O’Donoghue 

The former ceann comhairle, who resigned in a storm of controversy in 2009, is said to be considering a Dáil run having lost his seat in Kerry at the last election. Some say he’s “political toast” but the man known as ‘The Bull’ could yet make a dramatic comeback.

Conor Lenihan 

Dail members on John O'Donoghue issue Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

The former junior minister was adopting “a never say never” approach when asked about the possibility of a political comeback last August. The former Dublin South-West TD has not made any noises lately and Fianna Fáil is likely to back John Lahart for the nomination in that constituency. But could Lenihan pop-up elsewhere?

Read:  Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael accused of ‘playing footsie with each other’

Previously: 5 former Fianna Fáil ministers who could make a comeback